Filling time at grandparent's (Childhood)

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Enticed, gazing through criss-cross fencing

at Preston Road station platform.

Ignoring the fierce, frightening through trains,

rushing past his feet,

and British Rail on the far tracks.

He watched the common red ones,

with flared carriage bottoms,

waited for the rare, pale red ones,

with oval end windows, and

the very rare brown ones,

with delicious slamming doors.

He waited for them,

guessed which would next appear,

studied them, their sounds and lines,

made stories about them,

longed to ride them,

I suppose he loved them.

Then silver ones appeared,

and he was transported.


Really transported, as

on a rare trip to Baker Street

his big-hearted, patient gran

was persuaded to miss two red ones

to ride a silver.

A holy experience.


Surely, the little boy mis-remembered.

Surely, there never was a time,

when the Metropolitan line,

had four stock types. Surely.

But no – the silver A stock rolled out

in initially small numbers,

from June twelfth nineteen sixty one.

The last year for the brown T stock,

the lovely clunky, slammy, brown T stock.

While the red P stock

and the oval-windowed F stock

lingered a little longer.

God bless Google for these memories.


I was that eight year old.

Never a trainspotter,

I wonder why it happened.

But the lonely child's facility for fascination

and true wonder,

for seeing magic in the ordinary,

I want it back.


◄ Ruchill Park, Glasgow 10 a.m. 29th December 2010

When is the ground? ►


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 3rd Feb 2011 11:18

My paternal grandfather was an engineer, ie. driving an engine. Very glamourous job, it was. This is a delightful impressionistic poem that ricketty-racks along just as the trains used to do. Passenger trains would 'flash' by (HAHA!) and freights just 'lumbered' along forever across the intersections. I was terrified of the explosions of steam from the engine's entrails while 'parked' on the station platforms.

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Dave Carr

Tue 25th Jan 2011 21:16

Yes there is something delicious about those old doors.
Some great memories for me too here.

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Elaine Booth

Tue 11th Jan 2011 23:04

This poem is just such a pleasure to read that I've read it again! And again. I don't think you've lost it either.

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Andy N

Mon 10th Jan 2011 08:21

impressive, dave.. on the last line when you mention 'i want it back' - you could repeat that another time i feel just to add affect, but it's beauitfully wrote.. A

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bernard shelton

Sat 8th Jan 2011 21:37

love storypoems and this is a good un, enjoyed

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Sat 8th Jan 2011 20:00

Maybe once the child becomes a commuter some of the magic in life is lost, tarnished. Life, routine, responsibility kill that sense of wonder - make us too busy to take it on board.

Nice reflective piece Dave. x

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Cate Greenlees

Sat 8th Jan 2011 12:45

I think most writers retain something of the child in them. It makes them able to see something special in the mundane.
Like this one Dave
Cate xx

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Greg Freeman

Sat 8th Jan 2011 10:44

Dave, I reckon you never lost it.

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